Cardiology is one of the most popular and varied medical specialities, comprising a wide range of sub-specialities including electrophysiology, device therapy, interventional cardiology, imaging and specialist heart failure management.
Cardiological problems account for a large proportion of the medical workload, and by delivering evidence-based care cardiologists can make a real difference to patients.
Cardiology trainee characteristics
Cardiology will particularly suit trainees who are:
able to develop procedural skills
keen to engage in clinical research
Working in cardiology
Within cardiology, physicians can develop a wide range of careers encompassing cardiovascular research, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology & device implantation, specialised heart failure management, advanced cardiac imaging and several smaller sub-specialities.
Working in some sub-specialities involves performing procedures with a high intensity on-call while others are more out-patient based with minimal on-call commitments.
In all these areas the pace of change and development is very rapid, providing a stimulating working life.
Cardiology programmes may be advertised as training with general internal medicine (GIM), leading to a dual CCT in cardiology & GIM, or single accreditation in cardiology alone.
Cardiological input is required in every hospital and consultant appointments are made in both district general hospitals and tertiary centres; sometimes appointments will be made with sessions at both district general hospitals and the local tertiary centres.
Currently most electrophysiology and advanced cardiac imaging posts are within tertiary centres.
Cardiology remains a very competitive speciality, and many trainees will choose a period of academic research leading to an MD/PhD during their training; this is highly encouraged.
Potential cardiologists will need to demonstrate excellence in their career to date, and to show that they are committed to the speciality.
The needs of patients with cardiovascular disease continue to grow and cardiologists can do more and more to help them. Cardiology therefore remains a growing speciality.
Find out more about cardiology and the services delivered by the specialty on Medical Care – the RCP’s online guide to service design.
- NHS health careers - cardiology
- JRCPTB specialty page and curriculum
- RCP (London), Specialty spotlight - cardiology
- ST3 cardiology person specification
- The British Cardiovascular Society
- Developing physicians on RCP Medical Care
General / application queries
For general queries relating to areas such as eligibility criteria, making an application or the Oriel system, please contact the Physician Specialty Recruitment Office via email at [email protected].
Cardiology is devolved into six clusters. Applications are assessed by the lead region to which they have been devolved, therefore please contact the lead region for any queries regarding this specialty.
|Cardiology 2020 ST3 R1 - regional contact details by cluster|
|Clustered regions||Lead region||Contact details|
London and KSS
East of England
Yorkshire & Humber
This specialty uses the standard ST3 eligibility criteria, and does not accept candidates from any alternative training routes.
Please visit the am I eligible? section of this website for further information.
Cascadable application model
This specialty uses the cascadable application model. If you apply to this specialty you will be required to give (up to) four preferences of regions on your application form, ranked in order of preference.
Once your application is confirmed as eligible, in shortlisting you will be allocated to a region for interview based on the score awarded to your application and subsequent ranking, your regional preferences and the interview capacity available at each region.
Your application will be allocated to your first-choice preference region if possible; if the region has reached capacity with higher-scoring applicants, it will instead be cascaded to your second-choice; if that is also full, it will then be cascaded to your third-choice; and so on.
Most applicants are allocated to their first choice and normally either none or only a few cascaded to a lower preference. In a small number of cases, usually where an applicant only preferences one or two regions, an applicant will not be shortlisted. Information on the outcome of shortlisting from previous years is available in the document library.
It is normal for regions to join together for recruitment purposes, forming amalgamated regional ‘clusters’. A candidate applying to any such cluster can consider posts available across all constituent regions within the cluster. Details of the regional clusters can be found on the 'Who do I Contact?' tab.
As the main round draws to a close this specialty can implement a period of national clearing, should any vacancies remain. Further information can be found in the clearing section.
If participating in round 2, this specialty will use the single centre recruitment model, whereby the specialty will nominate a particular region to act as lead for the round and host all interviews with applications made nationally; the lead region will be confirmed in the lead up to the start of the round.
*Please note; cardiology has not participated in round 2 of ST3 Recruitment since 2012
It is possible that there could be changes between now and the interview period. Please bear this in mind when reviewing the information below, although in most cases it is not expected this will change, or any changes will be minimal. You are advised to check back in closer to the time of interview. The date at the foot of this page shows when the page was last reviewed.
You will spend approximately 15 minutes at each of the three interview stations, with five minutes' transfer time between each. Thus the overall time for the cardiology interview will be approximately 60 minutes.
For details of how scores are awarded at interview, and weighting that is applied subsequently, please see the scoring page of this website.
Implicit in all six areas assessed across the three stations will be an assessment your communication skills - eg of how you would communicate with patients, colleagues, etc. in a given scenario, as well as your communication with interviewers at each station.
Click on the relevant stations below for more information on the content of the interview.
Please note that this is subject to change, and will be confirmed by the date of interview.
This is where your application form and training to date will be reviewed. This will include checking the documentation you have brought along to ensure all content on your application form is correct. You are required to give a presentation which you are expected to prepare in advance, on a given subject.
Upon arrival at the station 1, you will need to give a presentation on the following subject, for no more than four minutes :
'What makes me suitable for higher specialist training in cardiology?'
Specific guidance on preparing your presentation is given below:
'Unfortunately we cannot always offer a training post to all candidates and therefore, thinking about the length of your career to date, and the experience you have gained since qualification; please convince us in the four minutes allocated that the experience and skills you have gained in that time suggest you are worthy of a training post; your presentation will be timed.'
No aids or external resources will be provided - there will be no projectors or laptops for PowerPoint, no OHPs, flip-charts, etc.
You are welcome to use prompts on small cards; but these should be for your own use only, and should not be given out as hand-outs.
When preparing your presentation, you should consider your career progression to date, achievements you have gained, examinations passed, comeptences, your portfolio, feedback received, etc.
Once your presentation is complete, your training, career to date and your suitability for the specialty will be discussed for a further six minutes.
In addition, normally your evidence folder will have been reviewed by the interviewers immediately prior to your arrival in the station. They will be:
- Checking that your achievements in your evidence folder match that claimed on your application form.
- Considering your career progression to date.
- Identifying areas about which they may wish to question you during the interview.
Areas for assessment
The two main aspects of discussion here, on which you will be assessed, will be your suitability for and commitment to ST3 training in the specialty, and your achievements and engagement with training and learning to date.
Scoring at the station
It is important to recognise that the scores awarded to you at this station will not purely be about your achievements, as this already contributes towards the scoring via your application form. Interviewers will be deciding upon scores via a combination of factors, for example: your responses to the questions asked, the breadth and quality of your achievements as highlighted in your folder and presentation and your career progression.
Station 2 will involve discussion of two clinical scenarios.
The scenario will describe a hypothetical clinical situation which has arisen in which you are, or have become, involved. Areas to consider when reviewing the scenarios are:
what steps you would take
any potential treatments possible
any further information you would gather
how you would go about communicating with any people (eg patients, family members, colleagues) involved in the scenario.
You should also take into account any other factors you deem appropriate, using your experience and professional judgement.
Areas for assessment
Marks here will be awarded to you based on your suggestions and responses to the clinical scenarios - one for each.
This station will feature assessment of an ethical scenario, and discussion of a question on the subject of professionalism & governance.
As with the clinical scenario at station 2, this takes the form of a hypothetical situation, described briefly in text form, details of which will be given to you before arriving at station 3.
However, as you would expect this scenario focuses less on a clinical situation, and deals more with consideration of the moral, ethical, legal (etc.) issues which may arise in a particular situation.
The first area of assessment at station 3 will be your suggested reponses to the ethical scenario during discussion here, as well as your knowledge of the different considerations required.
Professionalism & governance
Following the ethical scenario will be discussion of professionalism & governance.
This discussion will be prompted by a short question (often a single sentence) provided by interviewers. This will be given verbally by interviewers once ethical scenario discussion is finished.
This section of the interview is designed to assess your demonstration and understanding of professionalism and governance in a given situation.
Familiarise yourself with Good Medical Practice
Please note - assessment at station 3 is underpinned by the principles of GMC Good Medical Practice.
Appointable - automatic
If you are awarded a score of at least 3/5, for all marks given to you at your interview, then you will automatically be classed as appointable.
Not appointable - automatic
If any of the 12 scores awarded to you at interview are 1/5, this will reflect poor performance and an area of major concern.
If four or more of your 12 interview scores are of 2/5, this will reflect several areas of concern across your whole interview.
Should your interview assessment fall under either category above, the level of concern over your potential progression to ST3 will see your application classed automatically as not appointable.
Appointability subject to panel decision
In the event that your 12 interview scores contain one, two or three marks of 2/5 (and the rest 3/5 or above), your appointability status will be subject to discussion in the post-interview 'wash-up' meeting.
The clinicians who have interviewed you will discuss your general performance during the interview and any concerns or otherwise they have about your application as a whole.
Should they deem it appropriate, your application will be classed as appointable, and you can then be considered for post offers; whereas if they feel their concerns are too substantial for this outcome, they must class your application as not appointable, and it will progress no further in the current recruitment round.
Review vs automatic status
Please note there is no distinction made between candidates judged as appointable automatically, and those classed as appointable on review. Once deemed appointable it is only your overall score which will be used to determine ranking.
Total score calculation
After interview, a weighting is applied to the scores in each area, as well as the application form score, to give a 'total score'. This score determines your ranking which is used to inform how offers are made. The weighting of different sections, as well as the method by which your total score is established, can be seen by clicking on 'Total score calculation' below.
Please note that this is subject to change, and will be confirmed by the date of interview.
|Int. 1||Int. 2||Weighting||Max score|
|Evidence||/ 5||/ 5||x1.6||/ 16|
|Suitability for specialty||/ 5||/ 5||x1.2||/ 12|
|Clinical scenario (Major)||/ 5||/ 5||x1.6||/ 16|
|Clinical scenario (Minor)||/ 5||/ 5||x1.2||/ 12|
|Ethical scenario||/ 5||/ 5||x1.6||/ 16|
|Professionalism and governance||/ 5||/ 5||x0.8||/ 8|
|Raw interview score||/ 60|
|Interview score (including weighting)||/ 80|
|Short-listing (app form)||/ 80||x0.25||/ 20|
|Overall assessment score||/ 100|
As part of the process of applying to ST3, you may wish to gain an idea of how recruitment progressed in previous years for the various specialties participating in the nationally-coordinated recruitment.
To this end, we have published data dating back to 2013 (where this is available), based around four main areas:
Competition ratios - application numbers submitted to each specialty, along with the number of NTN and LAT posts available in each. It is worth noting that posts are subject to change throughout the round (increasing on average between 20-40%), and post numbers for this data are taken at the end of the round.
Shortlist scores - the scores awarded to all submitted applications, including average scores and distribution nationally.
Total scores - the total score awarded to all candidates who completed the full recruitment process for a specialty (application and interview), including some analysis of scores.
Post fill rates - the number of posts filled by region.
We have published information for all specialties participating in our process that year; consequently not all specialties will have data in all cases.
|Year||Apps.|| NTN |
| LAT |
| Total |
* the percentage of unique candidates that only applied to this specialty (out of the 24 PSRO-coordinated specialties)
Please note that cardiology has not participated in round 2 since 2012.
Provisional post numbers
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all ST3 2020 R1 interviews not yet conducted have been postponed. The dates below may not be accurate and will be updated. Please refer to our news item for further information.
Specialty vacancy numbers are available in the table below, broken down by region and divided between substantive national training number (NTN) and locum appointment for training (LAT) posts.
It is the intention that initial post numbers for all regions will be published prior to the application opening date, although this cannot be guaranteed. Numbers will be updated as and when notifications are received from each region and will be checked later in the round when programme preferences are open for selection.
Numbers subject to change
Please be aware that it is not uncommon for vacancy numbers to change throughout the round.
More commonly, post vacancy numbers can increase as the round goes on (and confirmation of posts becomes available); but it is also possible that numbers can reduce as well. On average post numbers rise between 20-40% from the start to the finish of the round but this can vary greatly for individual specialty/region combinations.
It is possible that regions which do not have a post at the start of the round may declare one after applications have closed. Whilst we try and minimise instances of this, it is not always possible to predict vacancies so even if there appears not to be a vacancy in your preferred specialty/region combination, you may wish to consider applying in case one becomes available during the round; you can check with the region concerned if you wish to check on the likelihood of a post arising.
Generally, once a region enter a post into a round they would always have at least one post available and would only withdraw it in exceptional circumstances.
|Region||NTN posts||LAT posts*||Interview date(s)|
|London and KSS||
22 April 2020
(Kent, Surrey, Sussex)
|East of England
24 March 2020
16 March 2020
|West Midlands (lead)||4-8||N/A|
1 - 2 April 2020
|North West (lead)||
|Yorkshire & Humber
16 March 2020
|Wales||4||0-1||23 March 2020|
31 March - 1 April 2020